Rents continued to rise in San Francisco, despite a Zillow report saying they held steady across the country.

Dreamstime

Rents Are Going Down... Just Not In San Francisco

Matt Bigler
September 28, 2018 - 2:09 pm

SAN FRANCISCO — Rents have stopped rising across the country for the first time since the Great Recession. According to Zillow, an online real estate database, median rent is unchanged nationally from a year ago.

But the Bay Area rental market is a different story. Apartment listing firms said that San Francisco's rents still climbed two to four percent last month, although that's a slower rate of increase than recent months.

Zillow's report said prices were held in check simply because of supply and demand, as more housing comes on the market.

The common sight of construction around San Francisco is increasing hopes that the upward trend will taper off here too. 

“I think seeing, physically, all the construction, people are very hopeful,” said Lauren Londregan, a resident of Treasure Island, where the population is expected to increase to 24,000 people by 2035.

But the newest housing is not cheap, and rents remain high across the Bay Area. Londregan said friends who moved into a newly constructed building in Hunter’s Point are paying a lot, and believes rent control is a double-edged sword.

“With rent control… people aren’t upgrading,” she said. “And so it keeps the housing market unattainable for a lot of other people.”

Voters will have the chance to decide whether rent control spreads to more apartments this November. Proposition 10 would overturn long-standing limits that prevent cities from expanding the policy, but opponents say the measure could have unintended consequences by limiting the supply of available housing.

Supporters believe the measure will prevent the loss of existing affordable housing in the midst of a state-wide housing crisis.

Brett Lambert was a long-time resident of San Francisco’s Richmond District, but joined the exodus in search of cheaper housing. His roots run deep in the Bay Area—a great-grandfather was the mayor of South San Francisco—and the decision to move to Grand Rapids, Mich. was difficult.

 “It was hard to leave, for sure,” said Lambert. “But it was the right thing to do.”